After handling the funeral of Emperor Chu, the new emperor’s enthronement ceremony was held. The night before the ceremony, Chu Xi was so excited that he didn’t sleep at all. As dawn broke and the rooster crowed, the palace attendants helped him dress in a custom-made dragon robe and a twelve-crown headdress.
Because it was still early in the morning, he set off for the Shoukang Palace. 1the name “Shoukang Palace” could be translated as “Palace of Longevity and Health” or “Palace of Peace and Longevity”.
His birth mother had passed away, so Shen Fengyue, his foster mother, became the Empress Dowager and moved to the Shoukang Palace.
When Chu Xi arrived, the palace had not yet been lit. Even Hong Mei’s eyes were half-closed as she ordered servants to prepare the toiletries. She stood at the entrance to the palace and just yawned when she saw the new emperor approaching. She was scared and immediately greeted him, “This slave greets Your Majesty the Emperor.”
“No need for formalities,” Chu Xi waved his hand at her and asked, “Has the Empress Dowager woken up?”
Hong Mei shook her head and replied, “The Empress Dowager is still resting. I will go inform her majesty now.”
Chu Xi walked to the main hall and sat down casually in a random spot, saying, “No need, let the Empress Dowager rest a while longer. I’ll wait here.”
Hong Mei agreed, but she couldn’t just leave the emperor hanging outside. She brewed some tea and sent Luo Xue to check on the Empress Dowager.
Inside the sleeping quarters, Shen Fengyue heard Luo Xue’s voice and rolled over.
Ah, my child is too filial, it’s really a sweet burden.
He sat up from the bed and whispered, “I’m awake, attend to me.”
The people outside quickly brought in the toiletries, and Shen Fengyue finished dressing before leaving the bedroom to see Chu Xi.
As the current Empress Dowager and with today being the coronation ceremony for the new emperor, his attire naturally leaned towards solemn and dignified. He wore a gorgeous and delicate golden phoenix hairpin on his head, with a simple and stable hairstyle, and wore court attire with a string of court beads hanging on his collar, each the size of a thumb, round and bright.
“The Emperor has arrived?” Shen Fengyue’s voice rose, and Chu Xi stood up from his seat. He looked up and saw that Chu Xi had some faint blue under his eyes, probably from not resting well last night, but his spirit was full, his eyes were bright and clear, so he smiled while saying, “Why didn’t you sleep more?”
Chu Xi pulled him to sit down together, speaking affectionately, “Son wanted to see Mother, and have breakfast with you.”
Shen Fengyue nodded, and they had breakfast together before he helped Chu Xi tidy up his outfit before leaving.
The dragon robe was black with gold patterns, and a fierce and majestic golden dragon coiled on the black fabric, quite imposing. Shen Fengyue untangled the bead curtain on his crown, and after smoothing it out with his hands, he lightly patted Chu Xi’s shoulder and said, “Go ahead.”
Chu Xi bid farewell to Shen Fengyue and walked out of the main gate. Shen Fengyue watched his back as he walked away, feeling emotional.
“Your Majesty?” Hong Mei noticed, “What are you thinking about?”
He looked at the figure of the young man Chu Xi who had just stepped out of the final threshold and was walking into the distance, and said, “I’m thinking that my child has grown up.”
Who would have thought that the child who stood by the lake throwing stones in anger in the past would now be the supreme ruler of the world?
So it’s really hard to say about fate.
Chu Xi’s ascension to the throne was in spring, a good season for everything to revive and prosper.
Officials, relatives, and the Imperial Guards stood on both sides, while Chu Xi stood below the hundred-level platform, where a eunuch was announcing the edict appointing him as the Emperor.
After the edict was read, someone handed him the imperial jade seal. Then, music began to play and palace musicians performed traditional music. Chu Xi held the jade seal in both hands and under the gaze of the officials, he stepped up the stairs and walked toward the throne.
[I want to become the tallest and strongest person so that no one can ever look down on me.]
The words of his childhood were still fresh in his mind, followed by a clear and beautiful female voice:
[Your ambition is high, I wish you success.]
The music was majestic and echoed throughout the Forbidden City, even soaring up into the clouds. Chu Xi didn’t walk quickly, and no one dared to urge him on. Although he was not as tall and big as an adult, every step he took was down-to-earth and steady.
As he walked into the Imperial Palace, the music grew louder and deafening.
The chair that symbolized supreme kingship was right in front of him. Chu Xi first caressed the cold chair with one hand and then sat down.
The moment he sat down, the music suddenly stopped, and after a moment of stillness and silence, a huge change occurred.
Everyone knelt down and kowtowed three times, shouting at the top of their lungs, “Long live the emperor! Long live! Long live!”
“Long live the emperor! Long live! Long live!”
“Long live the emperor! Long live! Long live!”
All the civil and military officials, royal family members, and people from all corners of the world bowed and saluted to the emperor.
The shouts of “Long live the emperor” were overwhelming and came from all directions, like a flood.
The emperor sat steadily on the throne, motionless, listening to the congratulations from the heavens, the earth, and his subjects.
He was the unquestionable son of heaven.
After the audience, everyone stood up and went on either side of the great hall. Chu Xi handed the imperial seal to a designated person and sat on the dragon throne, beginning to read the long sacrificial texts for the ancestral temple, the state gods, and the people.
The emperor was young yet imposing, he read slowly and steadily. After he finished, he put the texts aside on the palace maid’s board and said to the civil and military officials below, “As a new emperor ascending the throne, I must grant amnesty to the world, in recognition of heaven’s mercy and kindness.”
Here, he paused briefly and swept his gaze around the crowd, resting on Wei Yunping for two or three seconds longer than on others.
Wei Yunping’s right eyelid twitched, and he noticed the slight change.
The emperor continued, “However, I must also follow the principles of fairness. There is an old case of grievances that have been unresolved for a long time. Today, I must examine it clearly.”
“Prime Minister,” he called out, and then said, “Summon Eunuch Shen into the palace.”
The old case of grievances involved the prime minister and remnants of the Wei clan. Those who were quick-witted immediately guessed what was going on.
After Eunuch Shen was summoned into the palace, Wei Yunping calmly stepped out of the line and stood shoulder to shoulder-with him.
“I, Eunuch Shen, pay my respects to the emperor.”
Chu Xi told him to dispense with the formalities and then asked, “Prime Minister, do you know your crime?”
Wei Yunping, an old courtier, lowered his eyes and said, “I am ignorant and do not know what crime I have committed, to make the emperor come all this way to inquire.”
Chu Xi replied, “The old emperor of Yan died recently. The new emperor wants to establish friendly relations, so he wrote a letter to me, detailing the truth of the past. ”
“Wei Yunping, you have framed loyal and righteous people, deceived the emperor, and blinded the late emperor. Now that you see the orphan of the Shen family, how can you not feel ashamed? Why are you still here trying to defend yourself?”
“The Shen family has a history of loyalty and has guarded the border for generations. Such a family has been ruined by a worm like you! With such behavior, I am also too ashamed to face the ghosts of the Shen family! ”
“Your Majesty…” Wei Yunping’s lips moved, but he hesitated to speak. “Now the Empress Dowager is also from Yan country…” Before he could finish, a stack of papers flew toward him and hit him in the face. Wei Yunping could not dodge and was hit by the papers.
“I ask you about this, but you mention the Empress Dowager. How do I know you do not have ulterior motives?”
Wei Yunping picked up the scattered papers on the ground and roughly caught a few words from them. He knew that the situation was already decided and could not be reversed.
Dealing with Emperor Chu and the Yan Kingdom was like trying to skin a tiger – sooner or later, they would be bitten back.
He tilted his head 45 degrees and glanced at Eunuch Shen standing beside him.
Eunuch Shen stood, and he knelt.
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- 1the name “Shoukang Palace” could be translated as “Palace of Longevity and Health” or “Palace of Peace and Longevity”.